Zero Waste Week

Central East London and South East North East North West South West West Midlands Yorkshire and Humber

Zero Waste Week (ZWW) is an annual campaign that takes place in the first week of September every year. The goal is to get people, businesses and local authorities to think about the environmental impact of waste and empower them to reduce it.

Ultimately, waste is a global issue that requires all individuals, organisations and governments to reduce the amount of waste they create further than beyond just this week. Everyone can do their part and even the smallest of things make a difference.

Before you buy something, the most important thing is to simply think about it! Is it really needed? What happens to the packaging post purchase? Will the entire product actually be used, or will it generate waste? Is there an alternative that produces zero or less waste? These are just a few of the many questions you must ask yourself if you are to help cut down on waste for the benefit of the environment. Displaying a simple waste hierarchy will help to keep these questions at the front of your mind.

The truth is that the amount of waste we produce is unconceivable. For example:

  • Of all food produced globally, 1/3 of this food (1.3 BILLION TONNES) gets lost or wasted.
  • In the UK, the average household generates around more than 1 TONNE of waste per year, collectively creating 31 MILLION TONNES each year (the equivalent to the weight of 3 ½ MILLION DOUBLE DECKER BUSES!).
  • Around 80% of what ends up in our waste disposal could be recycled.
  • There is an island of garbage twice the size of Texas inside the Pacific Ocean


The issue with waste is apparent and as detailed on the ZWW website, “What happens when you throw something away? Away isn’t some magical place; it’s landfill, an incinerator, the bottom of the ocean, litter, or the stomach of an animal. It’s always somewhere else…”. The time for action on reducing waste and making simple changes to make a difference is here.

iiE members are already taking part in innovative ways to reduce their waste and engage staff and client in their initiatives, like Every Can Counts. To further inspire, check out how to reduce your waste at home and save food and reduce food waste.

If your business isn’t able to take part in Zero Waste Week during the same period as the national campaign, why not schedule in your own Zero Waste Week at another time more suitable for your business? Get in touch with your iiE support advisor for ideas and tips on running your own campaign and be sure to check out our Twitter account for more facts and ideas too!